Evgeni Plushenko, a tarnished Olympic medalist
Regarding Tracee Hamilton's Feb. 20 Sports column "There's no grace in Plushenko's fall":
Evgeni Plushenko's lack of grace after his silver-medal finish in Olympics figure skating came as no surprise to three local teenagers. At the 2003 World Figure Skating Championships at what was then MCI Center, these girls -- then 7, 10 and 12 -- were sitting behind Mr. Plushenko, watching the women's practice. They approached him quietly and politely asked for his autograph. The girls were, and remain, aspiring skaters. They looked up to an idol much in the way that Evan Lysacek described looking up to Mr. Plushenko. But the champion, who even then was arrogant, couldn't find it in himself to offer more than a terse "later!" while not bothering to look at the girls.
I believe a certain arrogance must accompany greatness, but it's the small acts of and kindness that make a true champion. I am especially proud of Mr. Lysacek, the U.S. men's figure-skating gold medalist, because of his display of grace after being scorned by Mr. Plushenko. He is the real role model.
Kathryn Doherty, Columbia